Thursday, March 27, 2008

FLORIDA DIGEST March 26, 2008

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From Tobias Packer

-Newly Proposed Amendments Would Override Anti-Discrimination Laws
TOMORROW, the Florida Taxation and Budget Reform Commission is scheduled to vote on two proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution that would openup the state constitutional door for all kinds of harm, includinggovernment-funded discrimination in hiring and the provision of services. Itwould also allow government funding for religious groups to disseminateanti-gay or other discriminatory messages.
The Taxation and Budget Reform Commission is only formed once every 20years, to study Florida's tax code. They should stick to that job and leavethe State Constitution intact. Please call the Commission office at (850)921-8905 and tell them you're calling to ask the Commission to vote NO onProposal 20 and Proposal 40, both of which would place on November's ballotinitiatives that would weaken the separation of church and state. Or, usethe text provided below to send an email. Your voice is urgently needed.
You can copy and paste the e-mail below into the comments section on theFlorida Taxation and Budget Reform Commission's web site printed below:
Dear members of the Florida Taxation and Budget Reform Commission:As aconcerned Florida citizen, I am writing today to strongly urge you to VOTENO on Proposal 20 and Proposal 40 - proposals that will allow the State touse my tax dollars to bankroll government-funded religion. Voting for theseproposals will remove the constitutional prohibition - part of our State'sConstitution for 140 years - that prevents government from favoring oneparticular religious group by funding it. This will chip away at my and allFloridians' basic constitutional rights to practice religion and be freefrom government-sponsored and funded proselytizing.
We deserve "government-free" religion. Government-funded religion onlyensures religious discrimination, strife and controversy. This is adangerous proposal with far-reaching implications for many Floridians.
Government funded religion squelches religious liberty - a core Americanvalue; it does not encourage religious liberty.
I urge you not to allow religious discrimination to be enshrined inFlorida's Constitution.

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-South Florida Regional Transportation Authority needs to find some way tofund Tri-Rail service
Will government-spending cuts finally derail Tri-Rail? Are South Florida'sthree counties stuck in choosing between the commuter rail service and stateroad projects? And what happens to Tri-Rail's 15,000 daily commuters ifthey're forced onto Interstate 95? And what happens to the I-95 commute if15,000 more people pile onto it?,0,2086101.story

-Consideration of evolution bill is questioned
Lawmakers are devoting part of the 60-day session to evolution - a move someSouth Florida legislators question as they cope with the state's continuingbudget crunch.,0,357976.story

Miami Herald
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-Needless amendment in search of a problem
Florida's Taxation and Budget Reform Commission shouldn't fix what isn'tbroken. There is no need to repeal a constitutional amendment that bansstate ''aid'' to church institutions. Equally important, the amendmentshould not be replaced by another that would open the door to public fundingof religious activity, including activities that discriminate against peoplebecause of their faith.

-A tax increase by another name
With Florida facing a serious revenue shortfall, state transportationleaders are dusting off plans for leasing Alligator Alley to a privatecompany -- and giving the firm the power to set tolls. This is a move bornof desperation. No doubt it seems an easy way for state lawmakers to createa politically painless new revenue stream. But the plan essentially amountsto a tax by other means, with tolls substituting for a tax increase.

Steve Rothaus
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-A "Mini Tea Cruise! Gay Glass Bottom Boat cruise
Sunday, March 30 5:30 - 8:30 P.M.
Exclusively for gay men aboard the 42 Ft Sea Experience from Bahia Mar in Ft. auderdale to one of So. Florida's most lush coral reefs of Sebastian (gay) Beach. Swim (the water is warm!), snorkel (equipment included) or JUST PARTY! Music, free vodka drinks and snacks. BYOB OK. Mixers included. $40 in advance by Friday 3/28. $45 after Friday. Call Peter 954-649-1107. Bon Voyage!

Fort Report
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-Democratic activists try new approach to solve Florida's delegate messbetween Clinton, Obama
WASHINGTON - Some Florida Democratic activists are floating a new compromisethat, when the delegates are added up, becomes a real problem for Sen.Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.,0,6635263.story

-Tampa church nixes visit by Obama's former pastor
Citing security issues, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's sermon in Tampa iscanceled.,0,1865186.story

-Bill aims to protect fetus
Causing the death of a fetus could lead to a murder charge, no matter howfar along the pregnancy is, under a bill that will move to the House floor.


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